Nationals Baseball: Sure, sir? Yep. Scherzer!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sure, sir? Yep. Scherzer!

Scherzer go!

Quick thoughts

Clarifying the money thing the Nats do clear up enough money over the next few years to keep at least two star players.  But that is because they are losing 3 starters, a catcher, a center fielder, a shortstop, and a closer (and already lost - a guy good enough to close).  That's a lot! So yes signing Scherzer means they don't HAVE to trade and that they can extend ZNN but they can't (and won't) keep everyone they are losing.

Well unless they decide to become a new big boy on the block. I talked about this before but it is far more an ownership decision than a location one. Is Detroit a huge market? Philadelphia? They could be a Yankees type if they want and that could mean signing everyone. Not likely but in baseball this is a personal choice

More likely is one of three scenarios.
  1. They deal ZNN (or more sensibly Fister, or possibly Strasburg) for prospects. Makes sense. He could potentially bring back a player that could help if not his year then next 
  2. They deal no one. Let them walk for draft picks. I don't like this.  You are talking about guys to be picked in June of 2016.  Scherzer is not a win later acquisition. Help later makes no sense. 
  3. They extend one (or more) of them. Not everyone. Just one. That would probably be enough with what's on hand and if you can keep Bryce
Do I Iike the deal?  Let's see what it is first.

Are the Nats better and WS favorites? Yes (but not as much as you think) and yes (but they might have been before)

Do I like Scherzer more than ZNN? No. Do I like Scherzer & prospects more than ZNN? Depends

I preached patience before on not jumping on the Lerners. I'll do it again for not patting them on the back. Let's see where this all ends up

More tomorrow


cass said...

Ugh. He's 30. Why are we signing him instead of Zimmermann and Strasburg who are younger?

I only like this deal if it means we're gonna extend everyone else as well Yankees-style.

Also, as for keeping everyone and letting the go in FA - one positive of that is going for the best team possible in 2015. World Series or bust and all that. Though if that's the case, why not Zobrist instead as Espinosa is a lot worse than Roark?

We all know they're trading Zimmermann, though, which sucks. Cause he's younger and cause he has history here and he's just as good.

Dr Trea (formerly #werthquake) said...

I like it. Now this gives leverage on jz & ss negotiatons since we aren't as pressured for them. Now we either trade them for more prospects and then we would have had with just letting them walk, or have an awesome rotation this year and gain that draft pick back that we lost anyways. Scherzer is a bit of a late bloomer. I like this move as it gives much more security and certainty of being contenders now and for the upcoming years

JWLumley said...

I didn't like this deal at first, but after looking at Scherzer's swing and miss numbers in the strike zone, perhaps it's not so bad after all. Still, if I'm ranking the Nats staff it goes like this: NN, Scherzer, Fister, Stras, Gio, Roark. So what I'd like to see is NN and/or Fister get extended, trade Strasburg because he likely would net the Nats the highest return.

I know Scherzer looks pretty similar to Verlander, but Verlander has always been more of a thrower than a pitcher and they don't age well. Not to mention, to my knowledge there are no naked pictures of Scherzer on the interwebs. Don't love this deal, unless they somehow re-sign NN or we learn that NN is completely opposed to re-signing. Nats still need bullpen and bench depth, but Harper's point is valid. If Ted Learner decides he wants to be the next Illitch, he can be. After all, he can't take the money with him and he could prop up a Nats payroll of $200M for quite a while before really feeling it in his pesonal wealth. If the club generates $150M in revenue and he has to cough up an extra $50M that's probably what he earns in interest every year--and no, I am not exaggerating.

JWLumley said...

Holy crap, Harper's gone Ballywood. Looks like someone let a robot in.

Wally said...

I am a little surprised at the reaction. Scherzer has clearly been better than Znn. Doesn't mean he'll continue to be better, but that is a performance separation between them over their careers. Znn does have 1 yr, 10 m on Miracle Max, but their mileage isn't so far off. Then you have 1 TJ to none. Just in terms of WAR produced over the next 5 years, I'll pick Scherzer to out produce Znn.

I love Znn, always have, but this signing clearly shows that the Nats will spend to stay competitive. The contract length is frightening, and I would have been happy locking up Znn too. You could argue this is a smarter way to do it (collect prospects plus lock up an ace). Mostly I am just happy they aren't going to let everyone walk and assume Cole et al will replace them.

Donald said...

The other thing to remember is that Scherzer has been pitching in the AL while ZNN the NL. Moving over should boost Scherzer's numbers a bit.

Anonymous said...

Presumably, ZNN could have had the same deal but turned it down.

Froggy said...

Strasburg, Zimmermann, Sherzer, Fister, Gonzalez...and Roark as the new Stammen. Crazy good starting 5. Nothing says 'all in' louder than that.

I love JZ but this is a business, and it's all about getting to the WS right?

Question for the group, do you trade Strasburg or Zimmermann? (I think Strasburg since he is under control) And since signing Scherzer is a signal for 'win now' who are those pieces that make up a Strasburg deal?

Harper said...

cass - as I said patience. we don't know that they are not going to extend them.

Yes for all those - but if he brings back a Diaz or Russell (he wont' but if) it'll all be forgotten

C&S - Eh. There's not much leverage when there are 29 other potential suitors.

It SHOULD give certainty. Certainly through 2016 (well probably) We'll see what is next though.

JW - Fister above Stras is lunacy but other wise I agree with like everything here

Crushed that spam. Crushed it. I'm sure it'll never come back.

Wally - no way. I'll take that bet five times on Tuesday (whatever that means). Scherzer has been better over his career, but I'll take the younger guy who was arguably better in the most recent season.

This signing shows the Nats might spend to stay competitive. I'm telling you they need one more long contract from the rest of these FAs. All this does is set up a 120 mill $ payroll which is average at best in today's game.

Donald - as always AL -> NL is a favorable move.

Anon - don't assume that. In fact, I doubt it was the case.

Harper said...

Froggy - I trade Fister if I'm just dealing to lose salary. I trade Stras if I'm looking for most back.

Wally said...

Harper - looking at fWAR and bWAR, Scherzer comes out ahead virtually every year over their careers except 1. I don't see any statistical basis for saying Znn was arguably better last year either. Miracle Max outperformed him by .4-1.1 WAR, depending on your system of preference. And Scherzer has maintained this level for three years, whereas Znn hit it for the first time at age 28. And Miracle Max pitches next year in his age 30 season, and JZ in his age 29 season, although I am kind of cheating on this because they use July 1 as the cut off for that and Max is born just after, and Znn just before so the spread is wider. I actually hate making this argument, because Znn is my favorite Nats pitcher, but I think the stats clearly show a separation between them.

But my point is this: two posts ago, you raised the very compelling concern that the Nats might be an org unwilling to spend on pitching. If you don't extend Znn and Stras, then who? Well, this signing lays that concern to rest, right? That, at least, has to be a pretty great thing. I don't know why they chose Max over Znn. Maybe they see him as a great #2, not a 1; or maybe it is just the ability to sign a comparable guy and get some prospects back too. Who knows, we'll see, but as a fan, I think we have to be encouraged that they make a commitment like this

JWLumley said...

@Froggy I've long been a fan of dealing Strasburg IF someone wants to overpay for him. A team trading for him would get 2 years vs. 1 and if they're willing to pay as if he's a legitimate #1, than take it. I think NN is still the best pitcher on the Nats, but when you look at opponents wRC+ over the last couple of years, it's pretty obvious that Scherzer has faced much tougher competition.

Harper said...

pWAR is heavily influenced by IP. Scherzer went 220 and ZNN 199. If you think it'll be a similar 10% more innings for Max then sure. He's more valuable. I don't think there will be any separation in 2015 on the same staff.

To me there is nothing inconsistent about ZNNs numbers - it's refinement of skills and that steady FB speed - thing of beauty. Scherzer... are those HR/FB numbers really real? What about that 2.59 BABIP last year? I think he's great. But I think today ZNN is better and the gap will widen just a bit for the next couple years.

Really though it's not a big deal in the immediate future - you are getting a Top 15 ish pitcher for the next either way.

Yes, this contract lays to rest that the Nats won't spend on pitching. It may have to be a Boras guy which I don't like, but Rizzo can sort out the flowers from the weeds of his clients.

Froggy said...

@JW, agree that ZNN is the better pitcher and has long been my favorite. I think it was brilliant that Rizzo signed Strasburg at arbitration dollars giving the Nats (and any other team) two years of control making a deal more attractive (and doable?).

Alternatively, keep all the pitchers, trade Desmond and put everything on Red and spin the 2015 roulette wheel. If we don't go to the WS 2016 becomes a rebuilding year.